The Harvard University Library welcomed the Overseers’ Committee to Visit the Harvard University Library May 11–12 for two days of discussions, presentations, and meetings. During this time, the Visiting Committee received a an update on the past year from Sidney Verba, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library and from Nancy M. Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College. They were briefed on four library construction projects: Widener Library by Nancy M. Cline; the Frances Loeb Library by Hugh Wilburn, Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Services, Harvard Design School; the Andover–Harvard Theological Library by Malcolm Hamilton, Interim Librarian, Harvard Divinity School; and the Harvard Depository by Barbara Graham, Associate Director of the University Library for Administration and Programs.

Dale Flecker, Associate Director of the University Library for Planning and Systems presented an overview of The Library Digital Initiative, while LDI project reports included “Music from the Archive: A New Model of Access to Rare and Unique Sound Recordings,” by Virginia Danielson, Richard F. French Librarian of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library; and “Biomedical Imaging Library,” by Rick A. Rogers, Director of the Bio-imaging Laboratory in the Physiology Program of the Department of Environmental Health. Jan Merrill-Oldham, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian in the Harvard University Library and the Harvard College Library, described preservation activities and conservation projects.

On May 11, the Visiting Committee heard from a student panel that shared their experiences in using the various libraries at Harvard. The students, all undergraduates, described the range of resources they used most frequently, their interactions with the staff, and their overall impressions. All four students noted that while the Library was not a major factor in their decision to come to Harvard, it plays a very important role in their student careers. One student noted that that breadth of resources and access to the stacks was sorely missed when visiting other major research libraries, while another highlighted the role of library staff in assisting her find primary source materials of great significance to her research that were not cataloged.

Jarasa Kanok, Class of 2000: Jarasa’s sophomore paper was an annotation of portions of Derek Walcott’s recent book-length poem “Omeros,” her junior paper focused on the poetry of Walt Whitman and critical views of nineteenth-century American poetry, and her senior thesis explored American children’s literatures in non-English languages (German, Spanish, and Thai).

Shannon May, Class of 1999: Shannon's sophomore year research program project, which grew out of a class comparing Sigmund Freud’s and C.S. Lewis’s worldviews, focused on the influence of Viennese Catholicism and Judaism on Sigmund Freud’s religious life and thought.

Johs Pierce, Class of 2000: Johs, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, completed his senior thesis on William Wordsworth’s sonnet sequence “The River Duddon,” arguing that the sequence is not worthy of the critical disdain and popular indifference with which it is treated today.

Michael Shenkman, Class of 2001: Mike is currently researching career staff in the Executive Office of the President and wrote a paper this past fall on banking curriculum at HBS in the 1920s. Before coming to Harvard, Mike completed his freshman year at McGill University in Montreal and spent a term as an intern at the White House.

The Harvard University Board of Overseers, whose primary function is to encourage the University to maintain the highest attainable standards as a place of learning, appoints the Visiting Committee. The Committee is composed of prominent individuals from outside the Harvard faculty and administration, and is an essential adjunct to Harvard’s governing structure.

Dudley Fishburn chairs the committee and other members attending some or all of the meeting included: Jerome S. Rubin, Vice-Chair, Nina M. Archabal, Victor K. Atkins, Jr., John G. L. Cabot, John K. Castle, Margaret F. Cowett, Michael E. Gellert, Walter B. Hewlett, Lisbet Rausing Koerner, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Susan K. Martin, James W. Needham, Gary M. Pforzheimer, Charles E. Pierce, Jr., Winston Tabb, Sarah E. Thomas, Juliana W. Thompson, Karin A. Trainer, and Susan Roosevelt Weld.

Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College